Large Irish Perch
Large Irish Perch
A week ago Andrew Wolsey and I had a bit of a “red letter” day in the hunt for specimen Perch. With two dozen landed, all between one and two pounds, including two pushing specimen size and one over the magical 1.2 kilo, it was only natural to want to try again.
However, in my experience, and in particular with Perch, a return visit rarely produces a similar result. We caught it just right at the time. Perfect conditions, right bait correctly presented, and plenty of large, feeding fish willing to attack our lures.
But with rivers in flood, and coastal waters ravaged by strengthening breezes, we decided to give the Perch another bash. Most likely, this will be our last Perch session for now. If you are into moon phases with relation to feeding cycles, we are also coming out of a good spell and slipping into a quiet period. Saying that, sitting at home scratching yourself in front of the telly won’t catch anything! So, with odds a little bit against us, we ventured on to try our luck. It would also give me a second opportunity to play with the Agility Drop Shot Rod from Shakespeare.
Berkley Split Tails finds a few fish
Once again we would be afloat on the tubes, and within the first hour, we had three fish landed, all over a pound which wasn’t a bad start. Examining the weed beds, we could plainly see large amounts of Perch spawn now present, and this explained a great deal. Obviously, the fish had been preparing to spawn on our previous session and were gathered in an area that we happened upon. With spawning over, the chance of a big lady was now quite slim.
A "pound-plus" Perch and weed covered eggs
Still, we were here and fishing, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, where else would you want to be! Persisting with small Berkley split tails on a size 10 Owner treble, vertical jigging style, I managed to pick off a few fish throughout the day, but Andy crept into the lead using Powerbait Gotam Shads and Powerbait Drop Shot Minnows rigged “drop shot” style.
A fine example of a fin-scale perfect Perch, even though its spawned out
Very important to carefully release this spectacular species
Strangely, we hadn’t touched for a Pike in five trips to this venue. They are in here, but must be in small numbers, leaving the Perch as number one predator for now. Eventually that balance will change I imagine. A heavy “thump” had me thinking I had found a specimen Perch, but there is no mistaking the fight of a Pike. A Perch is slightly more erratic, more nods on the rod tip, strong pulls in short bursts. On the light drop shot gear a Pike will run harder and further, usually showing itself on the surface.
Within a few a seconds I realised this was a “Jack” and not the specimen we were after, but still, amazing fun on the Agility, turning the float tube around in circles a couple of times before finally tiring enough to be safely chinned and quickly released. The vertical jig set up I used incorporates two inches of doubled-up fluorocarbon and a triangular shaped lead weight. This gives added movement to the lure, but also helps protect against sharp teeth on occasion.
We had a pleasurable day (with the odds against us) ending the session with five Perch and three Pike to me, and ten Perch and one Pike to Andy, finding the largest Perch of the day just over the two pound barrier. These Perch will obviously continue to feed throughout the year, and it is extremely enjoyable fishing, but the best chance of a specimen will be next March-April. In the meantime, there are other species to target.
Andrew with the largest Perch of the session, just making two pounds
With Twaite Shad now running, my interests lie elsewhere and so the distractions continue. It’s all fishing, if it swims in Irish waters I want to catch it, and when the Shad are off the boil, I can hear the Tench calling. What a wonderful life angling is, Tight Lines all.